How to Avoid Vacation Rental Scams: There are many websites where it is possible to publish advertisements relating to the rental of holiday homes. These portals have become very popular because of their practicality, as they put tenants in contact with homeowners and offer undoubted advantages for both: homeowners allow them to easily find more customers, while tenants assure possibility to go on vacation saving a little bit on the rent (which is usually lower than that of hotel facilities).
The Web, while offering many savings opportunities, however, also offers space to scammers and unhelpful users, who try to speculate on the advertisements published on the various portals dedicated to rents. Precisely for this reason many of my readers, interested in the topic, have sent me messages asking me how to avoid holiday home scams .
How do you say? Are you also interested in the topic and would you like to know more? Well, then take a few minutes of free time and let me give you “tips” to recognize scams related to holiday homes and, therefore, to avoid them. I assure you it is much simpler than you could imagine. I just have to wish you happy reading and, above all, happy holiday!
Recognize holiday home scams
Before explaining how to avoid holiday home scams , you must first understand what the scams in question consist of: only in this way will you be able to avoid all those advertisements behind which scams are hidden.
In most cases, the scam is perpetrated in the following way: the owner of the house object of the announcement, after being contacted by the user, communicates that the house is not available in the requested period and thus proposes another, to a much higher price. What a “strange” coincidence, isn’t it ?!
Even worse what happened to other travelers, who, after paying a deposit, left to reach the rented house and did not find it, literally remaining in the middle of a road. At the same time the “owner” or, better to say, the swindler, disappears with the down payment and becomes untraceable. In the latter case, in addition to the damage of having been scammed, there is also a hoax: you have to find a hotel or some other structure to go to, thus paying out more money.
Avoid vacation home scams
To avoid the scams of the holiday homes , such as those of the examples I mentioned a few lines above, just use a pinch of common sense both when analyzing the information in the ad. In addition, you can protect yourself by joining some programs for the protection of user rights (where available) and, above all, by using secure payment methods that provide partial or total refunds in case of scams.
Check the information in the ad
Checking the information in the ad is the first thing you should do to avoid running into a scam. To check the accuracy of the data in the ad, you can physically go to the place (if the place where you will go on vacation is not thousands of kilometers from your home) or, alternatively, you can use the technology to your advantage, perhaps finding some feedback on Google Maps : in this way, you can easily find out if the house you are looking for is close to the sea as the ad claims or not.
Another aspect you should pay attention to is the price indicated in the ad: if the rent is inexplicably lower than the local average (unless you book out of season), you would do well to be suspicious. It is now known that fraudulent ads are usually characterized by rather low prices.
Other useful information that you can get from the advert you are evaluating is given by the photos of the holiday home . If the shots show a dream home, without even a small defect, it was probably downloaded from the Web. Don’t you believe me? So try to do the reverse search on Google Images and you will see that you will agree with me. Also why, can you explain how you can justify the low price for a super luxurious home ?!
Another aspect that you shouldn’t overlook has to do with feedback . In fact, many online ad sites , such as Airbnb , CaseVacanza and Homelidays , allow users to issue votes to advertisers. If the web portal you are using integrates a feedback system, make good use of it: check the votes issued by users and, above all, the comments that allow you to get a precise idea of the (presumed) owner of the house.
Check the identity of the advertiser
Verifying the identity of the advertiser is another way to avoid scams that revolve around the world of holiday homes. How can you verify the identity of the advertiser? Well, first of all do a short search on a search engine (eg Google ) starting from the name and surname of the latter: you may come across some negative user reviews, if they have “previous” ones.
In addition to this, please reach his mobile number and landline phone number (if it is in your possession): if it is reluctant to give this to you, probably the individual with whom you are in contact is a crook. If, on the other hand, the advertiser provides you with his contact details, check on the Internet that he actually belongs to him: you can do this by using some collaborative site to trace the mobile number to the name (eg Tellows or ChiChiama ).
Se dalla ricerca emerge che il numero che ti ha fornito il proprietario della casa appartiene a un’attività commerciale chiusa, è palese che ti trovi di fronte a una truffa. Se, invece, dalle tue “indagini” non saltano fuori dettagli sull’identità dell’inserzionista, prova a testare la sua affidabilità facendogli qualche richiesta. Ad esempio, chiedigli di inviarti altre foto della casa e richiedi particolari in merito alla sua ubicazione. Se il tuo interlocutore non è disposto a fornirti le informazioni aggiuntive che hai richiesto, evidentemente ha qualcosa da nascondere. Potrebbe trattarsi di un truffatore!
Aderire ai programmi per la tutela dell’utente
After making sure that the ad is reliable and after verifying the advertiser ‘s identity, what else can you do to reduce the chances of running into scams or scams? You could try to join a program for the protection of the user , if this is made available from the web portal from which you made the reservation.
For example, if you have booked from the Homeholidays website, you can join the Safe Protection Guarantee program by making payment for the reservation from the specific payment page on the web portal. This program offers total protection of the payment against any attempts at fraud , phishing and deceptive descriptions .
If you want to check the presence of similar user protection programs on other websites, go to the “Security” section of the portal you intend to use (usually located at the bottom of the site home page) and check what guarantees are offered .
Use secure payment methods
The last piece of advice I give you, certainly not in order of importance, concerns the use of secure payment methods to pay the deposit (if requested) and the rental price of the holiday home.
In this case, I recommend using PayPal , which offers important guarantees against any scams or scams. If you are unable to use PayPal, use some other traceable payment system, such as bank transfer or credit card .
The important thing is to avoid making payments through Postepay , Western Union or Money Gram. By using the latter payment systems, in fact, you will not have any protection in which case problems arise between you and the home owner. OK?